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Long IslandColumnistsDan Janison

Cahill ally: He would need 'clear field' for AG run

John Cahill, left, listens to then-Gov. George Pataki

John Cahill, left, listens to then-Gov. George Pataki at the State Capitol in Albany on Wednesday, May 26, 2004. Credit: AP / Jim McKnight

WhileJohn Cahill, ex-Gov. George Pataki's former chief of staff and current law partner, weighs a run for attorney general against incumbent Eric T. Schneiderman, a source close to the maybe-candidate said Cahill would have to get the GOP nomination without a primary.

"The only way John goes is if there's a clear field," the ally said. "He does not need to be dragged to the right [by a rival]. The only way to play this year is to stay on theme from start to finish."

Those around Cahill, who was also Pataki's environmental commissioner, see Schneiderman as beatable and relatively unknown by voters, unlike his predecessor, Andrew M. Cuomo, now governor. In 2010 Schneiderman, then a state senator, emerged from a Democratic primary race to beat Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan in the election, 55 to 44 percent. Donovan had both the Republican and Conservative nominations, unchallenged.

BEST OF FRENEMIES: So far, policy clashes between Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio seem to suit the public-relations goals of both. De Blasio pursues his campaign vows by pushing a pre-K tax on top earners and a higher minimum wage for the city while curbing charter schools. By resisting these, fellow Democrat Cuomo -- whose only serious election challenge would come from a Republican -- takes the opportunity to warn about adding taxes and express concern about business and "school choice."

STILL WAITING: The New York City Citizens Union has registered as a political committee with the state Board of Elections. Dick Dadey, executive director, explains that the group asked the board if this was required since the Citizens Union sends members candidate evaluations. The board said yes. But, Dadey adds, the board has yet to answer his earlier letter -- concerning 224 political clubs engaged in funding transactions of $1,000 or more that failed to register as required.

DISHONEST SERVICES: In 2005, then-U.S. attorney Chris Christie won the conviction of a former Mercer County, N.J., official for defrauding the public of its right to his "honest services." The official had an interest in a firm with a county contract. Christie based several corruption cases on the controversial federal "honest services" law.

Clearly, the public got dishonest service last fall when Gov. Christie's appointees sabotaged traffic under the guise of a "study." But in 2010 the U.S. Supreme Court narrowed "honest services" cases to bribe and kickback schemes, leaving "Bridgegate" probers to eye other laws.

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